Weight Gain Wonders: Help A Dog Gain Weight.
If you have ever had a dog that had GI issues, you know how quickly the dog can drop weight. Other issues can also cause a dog to loose some weight. The question at hand is how do you help a dog gain weight safely?
The simplest way to help a dog gain weight is to add some homemade bone broth to its diet. Do not use store-bought bone broth due to the added ingredients. Most of the commercial bone broth on the shelves at the store contain onions or other alliums to enhance the flavor for human consumption.
If you are trying to help a dog that has recently been sick, it is not the best idea to feed them human foods that contain toxic ingredients. That is why I end up making bone broth at home. I use the simple method below to add extra calories to my dogs diet when she needs to gain some weight.
The home-made bone broth works because it contains extra calories and nutrients that get leached from the bone during the cooking process. The leftover bones can also be used as chew treats for your dog once it is feeling better. Do not let your dog chew on cooked bones if they are from poultry. Only use the large marrow bones as chew treats.
We have a German Shepherd puppy named Clove that has had problems with diarrhea a few different times as a puppy. Our dog is raw-fed using the BARF diet. We try to maintain her weight within the breed standard but she is normally a little on the skinny side.
We also do not let her get overweight like many dog owners do, at least in the USA. So this is the method that we use with Clove whenever she drops her body weight to bring her back up to where she should be.
How Do you know if your dog needs to gain weight?
If you are not sure what your dog should weigh, the AKC has a useful chart for breed-specific weights. You can gauge from the weight range on their chart if your dog is grossly underweight. Another thing to look at with the dog is if can you see its entire bone structure through its fur, if you can it is underweight. When you pet your dog you should be able to feel some of its ribs but not see all of them externally.
If you can see all of the dog’s ribs and it is low on the weight chart, you should try to help the dog gain some weight.
What Ingredients Are Needed For Homemade Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a simple homemade weight gainer for dogs. The beauty of this simple method to help a dog gain weight is it only takes 2 ingredients and a few kitchen items to make. You just need plain old tap water and marrow bones. The only kitchen items you need are a large stock pot, a large spoon, some storage jars and a stick blender. If you want to add some other healthy vegetables, they can be pureed into the overall broth.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to buy the marrow bones right from the grocery store, or you may have to visit a local butcher. I can buy them locally at the grocery store for about $8.00 for four bones. Four bones will typically make enough bone broth for 2 weeks, which is usually enough to see some weight gain with the dog.
It is also possible to use chicken legs or turkey legs to make the bone broth. Do not let your dog eat cooked poultry bones! They can splinter in the dogs GI tract and cause a bowel obstruction or perferation.
If using these meat bearing bones, the leftover meat that falls off the bone can be used to make a bland food. Bland food is excellent for a dog that was recently sick or had surgery.
Anytime Clove is having some kind of GI issue, we turn to a bland diet. Once 24 hours has passed since she vomited or had repeat diarrhea we switch her to a bland diet. We continue to feed her the bland diet for 5-7 days and slowly transition her back to the raw food.
How to make bone broth for weight gain
In order to make the bone broth at home, you need to have a large pot with a lid that fits pretty snugly to keep the moisture in. You also need to have some time to cook it, it does take a while to achieve the desired results. Plan to let the pot simmer on low heat for at least 24 hours. The process is pretty simple, it just takes some time on the stove. Do not make this unless you have time to keep attending it periodically for over 24 hours. The steps to make it are pretty simple, see below.
Step 1: Use a large pot that holds at least a gallon to two of water. I use a 20 Qt stock pot that I bought on amazon.
Step 2: Add the marrow bones to the pot.
Step 3: Fill the pot to about 2 inches below the top.
Step 4: Bring the water to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover.
Step 6: Check on the water level every hour or two, if the lid is tight enough, you will maintain the water level easier.
Step 7: Add water if the level drops.
Step 8: After around 20 hours you will see the water gets cloudy and dark, you should also see chunks of the marrow in the water.
Step 9: Let the broth cool for an hour to two.
Step 10: Remove the bones(do not discard them) and use an immersion blender to mix the broth up really well. It will look like milk when it is done.
How To Store the Bone Broth
If you plan to use it right away, you can bottle it up and store it in the refrigerator. I typically use either mason jars or a glass pitcher that has a top on it. I have stored it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and have not had any issues with it.
If you made a really large batch you can also freeze some for the next time it is needed. We store some marrow bones and bone broth in our deep freezer. The colder the freezer the longer you can store it. If you have some stored in the freezer and need to use it immediately, you can defrost it on the stove in a pan.
How Often to Give Bone Broth to a dog for Weight Gain
If the dog is eating normal meals and is not recovering from any GI issues, you can give it around 1/2 to a full cup with each meal. Repeat this until the dog has reached the desired weight. Typically I see results in about 2 weeks of using this method. It will not pack on weight really fast, it is a slow method.
If your dog is experiencing GI issues currently, you can put this in their bowl after 24 hours have passed without vomiting or diarrhea. If you feed the dog too soon, it may cause vomiting all over again. Once the symptoms of the GI issue have subsided, use about 1/2 to a full cup per meal per day for about two weeks. If the desired weight is not achieved after two weeks, continue giving the dog more broth until it gains weight.`Other methods To Help A Dog gain Weight
If making bone broth isn’t for you, there is another simple way that you can help your dog gain weight. If you just increase the amount you are feeding the dog per day, you can increase how much it weighs. It would be best to start out with a 10-15% increase in the amount fed per day. Feeding too much all at once can certainly have some negative consequences. Increase the food for a few weeks and then re-evaluate the dog’s weight.
If the dog is still underweight but you can see that it is improving, do this for a few more weeks. If you have not seen any changes, try increasing the food by another 10% for a few more weeks. If the dog gained too much weight, it is time to reduce the intake back to the normal amount for about 5% over what you were feeding them in the beginning.
What human food can I give my dog to gain weight?
How long does it take for a dog to gain weight?
What other foods can be used to help a dog gain weight?
Weight-gaining supplements To Help Them Gain Weight
If you find that making bone broth is too time-consuming or you need something that you can use in a pinch, you may want to stock up on some of these calorie supplements. I have never used a dog weight gain supplement, but I have used the feline version of the paste. I have used them numerous times on sick cats. In some cases, the sick cat would not eat anything but the paste.